REM GLEN HELEN MOTOCROSS: DEAN WILSON’S LONG AWAITED RETURN
Photos by Dan Alamangos, Debbi Tamietti, Rich Stuelke & Jon Ortner
In 2011 Dean Wilson won the AMA 250 National Motocross Championship, but since then he has struggled with injuries, including double ACL repair. He hopes to make his AMA National return at Millville on July 16. He came to REM to race 4 motos as prep. Photo: Dan Alamangos
With SoCal gripped in a heat wave of epic proportions. it was hard to imagine very many motocross racers wanting to gear up on a 100-degree day for two long motos in the piercing California sun. For people outside of Southern California, when you hear the Weather Channel say that it is 84-degrees in Los Angeles, you need to add 20 degrees more to arrive at the temperature at Glen Helen in the summer. Not surprisingly, in the winter, the beaches are chilly and Glen Helen is balmy. But, it’s summer now. Glen Helen motocross racers are a weird lot—they can show up on a 100-degree day and say, “It’s not that hot today. It’s kinda nice.” Where do they come by this logical? Since it was 112-degrees last weekend, 100 seems cool…and if it gets down to 95 they might break out their parkas.
Thus, they show up to race at REM no matter the temperature. And REM promoters Frank and Myra Thomason do their best to make hot days more bearable by combining as many classes as possible and jamming each moto with multiple gates—on the theory that five motos will get out of the track a lot sooner than seven motos. It also helps that many Glen Helen racers have been around the sport for many year—thus, it’s part of their DNA that motocross should be tough, rough and hot. And it was this weekend. Which didn’t bother the old guys. Riders over the age of 40 years old accounted for 68% of the riders at REM this weekend. Broken down further, riders from 50 to 59 years old were 34%, riders 40 to 49 years old were 21% and riders over the age of 60 were 14%.
Meanwhile, Australian Dan Alamangos was assigned to race MXA’s 2017 KTM 250SX two-stroke. After a few jetting, gearing and air pressure changes, there still was no explanation for the taped-up airbox vent or why Dan was wearing Jody Weisel’s helmet and chest protector. Photo: Jon Ortner
This week’s winners of the big classes were: Dean Wilson (450 Pro), Jon Ortner (Over-50 Expert), Doug Frankos (Over-50 Expert), Lonnie Paschal (Over-50 Intermediate), Luca Sorgente (Over-50 Novice), Bob Rutten (Over 60 Expert), Jody Weisel (Over-60 Intermediate), Scott Lindley (Over-40 Intermediate), Eric Warrington (Over-40 Novice), Maxx Murphy (450 Novice) and Kenneth Cuevas (250 Novice).
Former factory desert racer Bob Rutten swept both motos of the Over-60 Expert class. This class has exploded in 2016 and is expected to grow exponentially in the next year as more racers from the 1970s hit the big six-oh. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
The brand breakdown at this week’s REM race was 30% KTMs, 24% Hondas, 24% Yamahas, 10% Husqvarnas, 5% Kawasakis, 5% Suzukis and 2% TMs. These numbers are interesting, but remember that a lot of REM racers work in the motorcycle industry, which means that the bikes they race are often dictated by their companies affiliations. TM’s U.S. headquarters is not far from Glen Helen, and all the TMs at this week’s REM race came from TM itself. Plus, race team mechanics and public relations people race the inhouse brands, while vacationing European riders typically ride whatever bikes their hosts have in stock. Since REM racers are older than most local racers, this skews towards expensive bikes like the KTM and Husqvarna. Plus, you get magazine test riders—who race what they are assigned to race. This week MXA had 6 test riders and Dirt Bike Magazine had one (Ron Lawson)—this grouping accounted for several 2017 Huskys and KTMs.
Jody Weisel (192) won the Over-60 Intermediate class (after dropping down from the Over-65 Expert class to race in a bigger class). Here, he shows former AMA National racer Tony Amaradio (47) the fast way around Glen Helen…before Tony showed him the back of a Husqvarna disappearing around the next bend. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
2016 REM GLEN HELEN POINTS STANDINGS
(After 19 of 40 rounds)
1. Jon Ortner…434
2. Val Tamietti…422
3. Robert Pocius…416
4. Tom Holmes…411
5. David Cincotta…386
6. Mark Taylor…357
7. Jody Weisel…352
8. Luther French…344
9. Phil Dowell…334
10. Gary Stoltenberg…332
Italian Luca Sorgente, who lives in Florida, raced the ultra-trick, black TM 300MX that was featured in the June 2016 issue of MXA to a 1-1 sweep of the Over-50 Novice class. You can find out more about TM Motorcycles at www.tmracing-usa.com. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Doug Frankos won both motos of the Over-50 Experts (Over-50 Expert is a step below Over-50 Elite). Multi-time winner Val Tamietti separated his shoulder in practice, which robbed the fans of a chance to see the two go head-to-head. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Dick Wilk drove down from Utah to race at Glen Helen. Dick owns Dicks Racing and MX1 suspension and is always chasing the roughest tracks to test his products on. REM on a 100-degree day is a fair-to-middlin’ test. For more info go to www.dickracing.com. Photo: Dan Alamangos
Sean Lipanovich (505) went 2-2 in the 450 Pro class, but couldn’t stay with Dean Wilson. Sean has a motocross school. You can learn more at www.slmxschool.com. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
“Dentist to the Stars” Marc Crosby wheelies MXA’s Husqvarna FC250 project bike, which will be featured in the September issue. The front forks are WP 4CS forks with Kayaba PSF-2 internals built by TBT Racing. For more info on the forks go to www.tbtracing.com. Photo: Debbi Tamietti
Luther French (2) had the Over-50 Elite win in the bag. He was leading on the last lap, but he made the wrong choice approaching a pack of lappers and Jon Ortner two-stroked by him for the victory. In lapped traffic, the two-stroke’s ability to turn on a dime and accelerate instantly make it a slice-and-dice machine. Photo: Dan Alamangos
JON ORTNER’S PIT PARADE PHOTO GALLERY
Dean Wilson promised the kid who swept the concrete on his starting spot that he would give him his goggles after the race. When the kid didn’t show up at the KTM truck later, Dean walked through the pits until he found the kid and gave him his reward.
Gary Denton looms large as a legend of ATV racing. But wait, he was the top privateer and 7th overall in the 1982 AMA 125 National Championships. So, let’s show him the respect he deserves…even more than he deserves.
The next REM race is on Saturday, July 2, on the USGP track at Glen Helen. For more info go to www.remsatmx.com